Conservation Solutions, Inc: Art + Architecture + Artifacts

Abraham Lincoln Sculpture Finger Restoration - DC Court of Appeals

Site
DC Court of Appeals, Washington, District of Columbia

At the request of the DC Court of Appeals and Beyer Blinder Belle, Architects and Planners, Conservation Solutions, Inc. (CSI) was contracted to restore the finger of the marble Abraham Lincoln statue by Lott Flannery located outside the “Old DC Courthouse” in Washington, DC.  This sculpture, dedicated on April 15, 1868, is the oldest statue in the District of Columbia honouring Abraham Lincoln.

The white marble statue presently sits upon a low plinth but was originally displayed on a marble column over 30 feet high. The statue was re-erected in 1923 after a renovation to the courthouse and after re-carving of the statue’s hand: several fingers had broken off the statue’s proper right hand and eventually the entire hand fell off.  A replacement hand was carved out of marble and reinstalled. 

After another act of vandalism in 2014, CSI was contacted to restore the missing index finger on this same hand.  CSI conservators installed a narrow-gauge threaded stainless steel dowel into the statue’s hand with epoxy and began to re-build the index finger using a specially formulated marble restoration mortar that was custom-mixed with mineral pigments and marble dust.  The index finger was re-built to the proper size and orientation by consulting pre-damage photographs provided to us by the client.